Claw­ing through con­stant sor­row

Pasatiempo - - Onstage This Week - Michael Wade Simp­son For The New Mex­i­can

The Ralph Stan­ley Mu­seum and Tra­di­tional Mu­sic Cen­ter, in ru­ral Clint­wood, Vir­ginia, is on the stretch of U.S. 23 known as “The Crooked Road, Vir­ginia’s Her­itage Mu­sic Trail.” But you don’t need to travel to the land of blue­grass mu­sic to hear Stan­ley him­self. The “doc­tor” (he re­ceived an hon­orary de­gree from Lin­coln Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity in Har­ro­gate, Ten­nessee in 1976) is still per­form­ing at 83 and comes to Santa Fe with his band, the Clinch Moun­tain Boys, hit­ting the banjo and wail­ing in his inim­itable style, on Thurs­day, July 8.

Stan­ley was sur­prised when he won a Grammy Award for Best Coun­try Male Vo­cal­ist in 2002 for his a cap­pella per­for­mance of “O Death” on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? sound­track. He was prob­a­bly also sur­prised that the singer in this loose, De­pres­sion-era retelling of Homer’s Odyssey was dressed in a hooded gown, pre­sid­ing over a Ku Klux Klan lynch­ing, com­plete with chore­ographed bon­fires, gal­lows, and rit­ual march­ing.

Ralph Stan­ley

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